John 3:19-21 ESV
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Jesus Christ, the Light
Jesus Christ is the Light. The light is the gospel of Christ, and it is truth and righteousness and all that is holy and is of God, for God is truth and he is righteous and holy. Jesus Christ came into the world. He left his throne in heaven, came to earth, and was born of the Spirit of God to a human mother so that when he walked the earth he was fully man and fully God (John 1:1-36; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:8-9; John 8:24,58).
But even though he was God incarnate (in the flesh) when he came into to the world, and he was and is the Messiah (the Christ) who was to come to be the Savior of the world, not many people believed in him. Not many people accepted him for who he was. Many people rejected him, and the leaders in the temple of God largely hated him, and so they persecuted him, and eventually they had him put to death on a cross (read the gospels).
But he did not stay dead. On the third day God the Father resurrected him from the dead, and for the next 40 days, I believe it was, he appeared to many people on the earth, including to his 11 disciples (the 12th, Judas, had committed suicide). But then he returned to heaven to be with the Father and from there he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers and to be Jesus to them on this earth, and to teach them all things pertaining to God.
But Jesus Christ didn’t die on that cross for no good reason. In his death he put our sins to death with him so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness in his power and strength. Our sins were put to death with him so that, by God-given faith in him, we would be crucified with him in death to sin and so we would be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (2 Co 5:21; 1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
By God-given faith in Jesus Christ we now walk (in conduct, in practice) no longer according to our flesh but now according to the Spirit. We now walk in obedience to our Lord and to his commands and no longer in habitual and deliberate sin. For Jesus died on that cross to free us from our slavery to sin and to empower us to live godly and holy lives pleasing to God in obedience to his commands (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10).
People Prefer the Darkness
To love literally means “to prefer,” so when people love the darkness rather than the light, they literally prefer the darkness over the light. They prefer their sins and their wickedness and their evil deeds over God and his righteousness and holiness. Even if they profess faith in Jesus Christ, if they continue in deliberate and habitual (and often premeditated) sin, they are preferring their sin to genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
We are not to prefer the world and the things of the world over or in place of Jesus Christ. We are not to take pleasure in and to long for and to give our adoration, our passion, and our desire to the sinful pleasures this world has to offer while ignoring our Lord and his commands. But we are to prefer to live through Christ, embracing God’s will for our lives, choosing and obeying his choices for our lives through his power.
So if we love (prefer, embrace, desire, long for, take pleasure in) the desires (lusts) of the flesh, and of the eyes, and the pride of life, in place of longing for and taking pleasure in and preferring our Lord and his commands, we are not of God, we don’t know God, and we are not born of God regardless of what we profess with our lips or think we believe in our hearts. And the love of God the Father is not in us. We need to take this to heart!
And why do people do this? Because they want to hold on to their sin and they do not want to let it go. And this is why many people have adopted a half-truth diluted (cheap grace) gospel in place of the true gospel of grace because it gives them carte blanche to continue in deliberate and habitual sin without guilt and without conscience and without any requirements for repentance or for walks of obedience to the Lord.
Whoever Obeys God
In 1 John 2:17 we read, “But whoever does the will of God abides forever.” And in John 3:21 we read, “But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” And in Matthew 7:21 we read, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
And in 1 John 2:3-5 we read: “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.”
[See also: Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:16; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Php 2:12-13; Jn 10:27-30]
So, for the true believer in Jesus Christ, obedience to the Lord and to his commands is not optional. We can’t prefer our sins and the lusts of the flesh and of the eyes and the pride of life, and not prefer God and his choices for our lives, if salvation from sin and eternal life with God are what we are seeking after. We must, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh and walking in obedience to our Lord or we don’t have eternal life.
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Footprints of Jesus
Lyrics by Mary B. Slade, pub. 1871
Music by Asa B. Everett
Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.
Though they lead o’er the cold, dark mountains,
Seeking His sheep;
Or along by Siloam’s fountains,
Helping the weak.
If they lead through the temple holy,
Preaching the Word;
Or in homes of the poor and lowly,
Serving the Lord.
If Thy way and its sorrows bearing,
We go again,
Up the slope of the hillside, bearing
Our cross of pain.
Then, at last, when on high He sees us,
Our journey done,
We will rest where the steps of Jesus
End at His throne.
Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.
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